Organisations evolve as the demands of the markets change, and ERP systems should equally evolve to support these changes. If not, the ERP system no longer supports the business processes, and hence the purpose of an integrated ERP is at stake.
To protect the ERP investment, the ERP system needs to keep pace with the business requirements and changes. Hence it is necessary to adapt, adjust and use new features. Hardware, database software, office productivity systems, business intelligence tools and cloud computing have all evolved hugely, but the ability to take advantage of these innovations is severely hampered when using unsupported ERP software that relies on the technology and functionality of the past.
Business system changes shouldn’t be taken lightly – there is work to do with designing, configuring, testing and retraining users. Planning well ahead before the End of Life (EOL) takes effect, allows ample time to execute correctly and avoid the issues identified above.
Below are some of the horrors and specific risks of keeping an out-of-support ERP system.
Security: When software is out-of-support, patches, bug fixes and security upgrades stop. Security is compromised because vendors no longer offer a security patch if a vulnerability is discovered, leaving you open to cyber-security hacks.
Incompatible software: New applications are released almost daily, and these are optimised for the most recent operating systems. That means when using out-of-support ERP, you cannot use the latest applications or upgrade to the latest versions. If you are holding on to legacy applications, you will not have access to the latest features and developments. This causes issues with your systems, as they are unable to communicate with each other.
‘Landlocked’ operating systems and ageing hardware platforms: The issue concerning operating systems and out-of-support software needs to be highlighted as a key risk to any business. Out-of-support software is not only not optimised for the most recent operating systems, but also often incompatible entirely, leaving the business ‘landlocked’ to legacy operating systems and therefore vulnerable to viruses, malware and cyber-attacks.
As hardware platforms need replacement, the operating system is almost always replaced/upgraded also. If the hardware cannot be replaced due to the out-of-support software being incompatible with the new operating system, the business is exposed to a potential hardware failure with little or no backup options.
Higher operational costs: Out-of-support software costs more; whether it’s through lost/stolen data, updating and maintaining with third parties, legal liabilities, or lost revenue from downtime or issues. The cost of upgrading to a new ERP can sometimes seem large and prohibitive from a business point of view. But consider the consequences of a security breach, major bug or data loss. The peace of mind that comes with having a fully secure and supported system that won’t randomly go offline is worth the investment.
Download our Sage 500/1000 upgrade guide to discover how to use end-of support as an opportunity to transform and grow your business and prevent any of these horrors from happening.